What would it be like not to have your eye sight? Unfortunately, the risk of losing this important sense goes up with age. The most common form of age-related visual loss is macular degeneration of the eye which affects up to thirty percent of people over the age of seventy-five. This disease robs a person of their central vision ‘” the type that helps them see fine detail and enables them to read a book. Peripheral vision is usually preserved. The risk of macular degeneration of the eye goes up if there’s a family history of the disease and in people who smoke; but there’s increasing evidence that diet plays an important role. How should you eat to reduce the risk of macular degeneration?
Get More Omega-3’s
The omega-3’s found in fish oils are good not only for the heart, but also for the eyes. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the omega-3’s in fish oils, particularly DHA, may reduce the risk of macular degeneration of the eye. Researchers looked at the eating habits of 1,837 healthy volunteers and followed them over a twelve year period. They found that the participants with the highest dietary intake of omega-3’s had a thirty percent lower risk of developing macular degeneration of the eye. The researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3’s may account, at least partially, for this protective effect. If you’re at high risk of macular degeneration, talk to your doctor about taking fish oil supplements.
Get More Carotenoids
Studies have shown that a carotenoid rich diet containing lutein, zeaxahtin and beta-carotene may lower the risk of macular degeneration of the eye. Lutein is found in the macula of the retina and helps to protect it from damage due to light exposure. Getting more carotenoids in the diet may help to protect the retina against damage from to light exposure and from cellular free radicals. Carotenoids are found in orange colored fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe, mango, apricots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, kale and Swiss chard are also good sources. One more reason to eat your vegetables.
The Bottom Line?
To lower the risk of macular degeneration of the eye, eat more fatty fish such as salmon along with lots of orange and green fruits and vegetables. Be sure to select wild Alaskan salmon to reduce exposure to mercury, PCB’s, and other contaminants found in farm raised fish. The bonus? You’ll be reducing your risk of macular degeneration while boosting heart health at the same time.